Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®
By Utah Business editors | Photography by Eric Delphenich
Starting and running a successful business is tough—it takes much more than an idea and enthusiasm. Being an entrepreneur requires hard work, perseverance, thick skin and huge risk-taking. And the big paycheck doesn’t come overnight; many small business owners earn nothing in the first months and some are even forced to ask their small staff to go without a paycheck just to keep the lights on. That’s not to say there aren’t major benefits of entrepreneurship. The reward of building something meaningful out of nothing more than an idea is immeasurable. Here we profile a group of entrepreneurs who have done just that—turned an idea into a lasting organization. Join us as we applaud the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year honorees.[From Page 6 & 7 of the digital version of this feature article] Emerging Finalist Winner
Jefferson G. Pedersen, CEO and Founder
Jeff Pedersen isn’t afraid of shaking things up to make a business work. He started a line of retail stores in Caribbean tourist destinations called Cariloha during the 2008 economic downturn, and sales were poor during the company’s first year. With Cariloha seemingly doomed to fail, Pedersen decided the brand needed its own distinctive niche. He found it in bamboo, a material that is sustainable, versatile and can be used to make soft, breathable fabrics. He developed an entirely bamboo-based line of clothing, bed and bath products, and accessories, liquidated existing inventory and redesigned the retail stores. Cariloha began to thrive, and the store now has 32 locations in 12 countries. After doing $1 million in sales in 2008, the company is on track to do $25 million this year.
Cariloha isn’t Pedersen’s first foray into creating a business. In 2000 he started Del Sol, a line of products that change color in the sun, which now operates more than 100 stores in 25 countries.
Pedersen credits much of his success to the people he works with. “As an entrepreneur, it’s exhilarating to be working with a group of people that you can trust, that you enjoy working with and that have a burning desire to succeed,” he says.